Dick Vermeil is well-known and respected for his loyalty to his coaches. And Vermeil stuck his neck out for defensive coordinator Greg Robinson after a pitiful performance in 2002.
But after watching the dismal performances of the Chiefs defense for the third consecutive year that culminated with a 38-31 playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Vermeil will likely give Robinson his walking papers this week.
Sunday was game number 49 with Robinson as defensive coordinator. And the Chiefs defense looked just as lost and confused in game number 49 as they did in game number one.
Chiefs players have stated that they do not understand or believe in Robinson's defensive scheme and it has shown on the field. Since Robinson took over as defensive coordinator and changed the defensive scheme, the Chiefs ranking in total defense is as follows:
2001: 23rd (Not Bad For First Year)
2002: 32nd (League Worst)
2003: 29th (Not Much of An Improvment)
The Chiefs rushing defense has progressively gotten worse under Robinson, and this year the Chiefs were dead last against the run. It didn't matter if it was a Pro Bowler or backup running back; the opposing team ran up and down the field on the Chiefs all season long.
Playing defense is about skill, want to and attitude. The Chiefs have some talented players on defense. They did not have the "want to" or the attitude to adapt and buy into Greg Robinson's style of play. They play his defensive schemes being unsure and impassionate.
Throughout the 90's, the Chiefs home field advantage was an advantage based on the tremendous noise generated from the Arrowhead Stadium crowd--especially on third downs.
When Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith both played at Arrowhead Stadium, they, more than any other players, used the Arrowhead crowd noise to their advantage -- especially on third down. And more often than not, they got to the quarterback or disrupted his throws.
On Sunday even with 79,159 screaming Chiefs fans -- the largest home crowd in Chiefs playoff history -- at their backs, the Chiefs defense couldn't stop the Colts on third down. The Colts were 8 of 11 on third down converstions and the Chiefs defense was nowhere to be seen in crunch time.
And, oh, Chiefs fans did everything they could to help disrupt Peyton Manning. But all the noise they made did nothing to faze Manning--who called a brilliant game. He'd wait on every offensive play for the Chiefs to sellout their defense alignment and then change the play that he new they could not defend.
Yes, the Chiefs tried to stop the Colts -- they just couldn't. Greg Robinson tried everything in the playbook to put the heat on Manning. Nothing worked. And to their credit, the Chiefs never gave up trying.
ut the Chiefs have tried for three years with Greg Robinson. And enough is enough.
The Chiefs started the season 9-0. They ended the season 4-4.
The Chiefs were 2-4 against teams with a winning record in 2003. And next year the schedule is much tougher. So the Chiefs are going to have to be a far better, and more complete team next year than they were this year if they are going to make another run at the Super Bowl in 2004. If that is to happen, then Robinson needs to be fired now.